MacDill AFB officials safely detonate WWII-era explosive found on beach

MacDill AFB officials safely detonated a World War II-era explosive that washed up on St. Pete Beach Sunday morning.

Explosive disposal teams from both MacDill and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office exploded the device about 5:00 p.m. Investigators say they decided to detonate the device because they wanted to dispose of it safely and avoid any chance it would explode on its own.

Nearby sea turtle nests were protected from the explosion. 

A walker on St. Pete Beach discovered a military weapon floating in the water Sunday morning.

Pinellas County deputies said the walker noticed a large cylindrical object along the surf line near the 22nd Avenue beach access. 

The citizen reported it to authorities.

The object was about four feet in length, cylindrical and had a cone-shaped cap on one side. Deputies said the object had barnacles and appeared to have been submerged for a significant period of time

MacDill officials identified the device as an M-122 photoflash bomb, which they was used at one time to light up the sky for night-time surveillance missions

There is no official word on how long the device was in the Gulf or how it may have gotten there.